Our Sweet Heart Seniors Series begins today with a discussion on Food. Of course we start with food! As our pups age, their food preferences and needs may change. We’ve seen this happen in our own dogs as well as the dogs we make food for. This can happen for a host of reasons including onset of disease or simple boredom. We’ve got some tips and insight that can help you and your pup:
We’ve found that the some senior dogs prefer a softer food. This may be due to dental distress or simply the loss of teeth over time. The softer the food, the better. Our raw foods defrost to what we like to call “a thick cake batter”. This makes eating very easy for those dogs with limited choppers.
Food temperature requirements may also change. Our raw food is served defrosted and cold. Some seniors may have enjoyed this for many years, but then suddenly turn their nose up to their once beloved meals. Try putting the food in the microwave for 10-15 seconds to warm it up. If you’d prefer not to use the microwave, add 3-4 tablespoons of very warm/hot water to your dog’s food and mix. The change in temperature may be just what your dog was looking for.
We’ve also seen in some dogs that they just aren’t into raw anymore. We had that happen with our dog Gilmore. He ate raw for many years and then suddenly, no thank you. What I did was bake up some of his food into mini meat loafs. We would cut off a slice for him, warm it up, and bon appetite – he would gobble it up! He was looking for a change in texture and we delivered. We’ve had several of our client’s dogs go through the same change and we’ve been able to make that slight modification in meal prep and have them continue to eat. Our baking consists of a 350 degree oven temperature for about 15-20 minutes. We don’t over bake but we do modify the texture a bit to satisfy the dog’s taste.
If you feed a kibble diet, please be sure to add water. Changing the temperature of the water may also help make the food more enticing.
Enhance your kibble with some Senior Meatballs. Take a pound of protein of your choice, add an egg, 3 tablespoons of ground flax seed, 1 tsp. of sage (to help with gum comfort), and 1 tsp. of oregano (to keep the mind sharp). Blend and make meatballs sized for your dog’s weight. Bake for about 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees. Allow to cool and serve. Freeze leftovers to add as desired.
We’ve also seen some dogs looking for a bit of extra attention at meal time. Perhaps they would like you to help them as they eat their dinner. While this doesn’t happen with all dogs, I’ve seen it happen enough in our house and with our clients. I’m of the mind that I’m happy to help them eat anyway I can. If it means I sit on the floor and spoon feed (yes my dogs can eat from a spoon, don’t yours? Ha!), then so be it. I look at like this – the more time I can spend with them, the better.
Regular visits to your vet are a must with your senior dog.
We hope you have enjoyed Part 1 of our Sweet Heart Seniors series and would love your feedback. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s entry: Part 2 –Activity Level and Calorie Intake. If you’d like us to make meals for your dog of any age, please start here. Thanks!